We all know what loneliness feels like. And each of us perceives this in our own unique way. Some equate loneliness with being alone. But while both offer opportunities for self-discovery and personal growth, loneliness is suffering, and solitude of itself is simply being alone and need not involve a state of loneliness.
Loneliness involves a sense of loss and/or separation, and may come from many sources: loss of a loved one, the empty nest, illness, isolation, rejection, a major move to a strange place, etc. A shy person may lack social skills, and becomes isolated and lonely. Maybe you’ve always been lonely, and you don’t know why. It just feels like a piece of your heart is missing. For some people, loneliness is the result of a childhood experience that left them unloved and alone.
When I was 6 years old, my father died, and it left a hole in my heart that was filled with loneliness. For most of my life I fought it. But that only strengthened its presence until, with help, I was finally able to let it go. I’ll always miss my father, but I no longer feel that deep pain I lived with for so many years.
Involvement with others is the single most important factor influencing our health, well being, and happiness. We humans have a strong need to experience personal connections. And any type of isolation causes psychological problems like fear, abandonment, loneliness, etc. And reaching out becomes more difficult. In our present world, advanced technology greatly reduces meaningful interactions with others. People become attached to their hand held devicesthat provide only written words without a voice to communicate. This situation has become the norm, but it can lead to a senseof isolation with less time, or inclination, for really meaningful relationships.
“No other form of communication is as universally understood as touch. The compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug can take away our fears, soothe our anxieties, and fill the emptiness of being lonely.” ~Randi G. Fine
Evolutionary Psychologist Robin Dunbar speaks of healthy interactions with others, and says, “On their own, words are slippery things. It seems essential to have face-to-face interaction if you’re going to build a relationship with someone that has any meaning. You get more information from the way that someone touches you, about how they see you, and how they see the relationship between you than anything they could ever say.”
Lonely people may feel no one cares, and some give up. But there are always ways to deal with loneliness. Sometimes it can be healed…Sometimes not. But it’s always worth a conscientious try. First accept loneliness as where you are now. Then it’s no longer your enemy. And if you work toward change with intention and commitment, it can bring a letting go of limiting beliefs, and lead to freedom and purpose in your life.
We need to communicate our thoughts and feelings, so find someone who’s willing to listen. If you don’t know a listener, see a clergy in your place of worship. Don’t have one? Then get one. They have good hugs there too. Otherwise find a counselor. But no matter how you feel, reach out to a few trusted people and start communicating. Even a pleasant hello is a good start.
Go within and talk to your loneliness.Search for answers, and Clarify the cause of your lonely feelings. Did you experience a loss? Is it from your childhood? And is there a situation you have power to change? If so,devise a plan with intention and commitment. If not, soothe your inner child’s pain, and continue inner work with patience and faith for healing. And ask yourself what you can learn and how you can grow from this experience.
When you’re ready, affirm your strength and give loneliness permission to leave. Bless it with peace, and replace it with a period of solitude where you can communicate with Spirit. You’ve never been separated from this inner love and comfort, and it will sustain you now. Then reach out to others with love from your heart. And allow yourself to receive love. Loneliness will have nowhere to live, and it will leave you. And you will find peace.
I wish you freedom to be your beautiful self.